Stillagaumish Valley Genealogical Society
Northwest Genealogy Conference 2020: Classes  
Wednesday, August 12th:
  • Thomas MacEntee​
    • Beginning Genealogy Class - Free: Are you interested in your family’s history, but not sure how to get started? Are you completely new to genealogy research or a seasoned pro, there's always more to learn or to review. In this session of Beginning Genealogy, the following will be covered:Are you a Genealogist or Family Historian?
  • The Basics of the Genealogical Hunt
  • Organizing Strategies for Genealogy Success
  • Locating Genealogy Records Online and Off-line
  • Techniques and Tools to Transform your Approach to Research
  • Resources and References for Improved Research Results
  • Tips to avoid Genealogy Traps, Confusion, and Overload
  • The Next Steps as a Genealogist
Click here to register for this free Beginning Genealogy Class.
Click here to register for the conference 
Thursday, August 13th:
  • Thomas MacEntee - Keynote Presentations:
    • The 1950 US Federal Census — Are You Ready?: Many genealogists remember the amount of excitement in April 2012 around the release of the 1940 US Census. Following the "72 Year Rule" for records at the National Archives, the results of the 1950 US Census will be made public on Friday, April 1, 2022. It's never too early to prepare for this valuable data related to US genealogy research!  Participants will get up to speed on the history of the 1950 US Census, why the 1950 US Census form is radically different than previous forms, and how the data will be accessed. In addition, we'll cover what you can do NOW to prepare for the release of the 1950 US Census, as well as volunteer projects related to indexing and finding aids. Finally, we'll cover how you can always get the latest information related to the release of the 1950 US Crensus data!
    • How to Deal with Other Genealogists Without Going Crazy: ​Genealogy is all about connecting with your ancestors. As part of this process, we often need to connect with other genealogists and share research. It isn’t always easy as it seems!  Learn the best ways to connect with other family historians and share resources including research, documents and research strategies. Discover the various methods of locating other researchers and the best practices to ensure that your work is shared and credited in a responsible manner.
    • The Other Census — US State Censuses:  Frequently genealogists will focus strictly on the US Census records and forget that many of the US states and territories conducted their own census at some point. Learn which states and territories have these amazing records, how to access them, and how to incorporate them into your genealogy research. Participants will learn how to determine if a specific state or territory conducted their own census and when. In addition, we’ll cover how to access these records both online and in-person at various repositories. Finally, we’ll review how to take state and territorial census data and incorporate it into your current genealogy research.​
  • Amberly Beck:
    • Using Timelines to Untangle Same Name Individuals: Same name individuals often get tangled up in online trees.  Learn how to use timelines and other charts to carefully analyze and separate same name folks for good.  Learn how to document your work in FamilySearch so that your cousins will stop merging "your" James Young with that "other fella."  Learn how to help your good work last.
    • Finding "Hidden" Records on FamilySearch: Did you know that FamilySearch has several different types of record collections? Learn how to find them all as we explore their historical records collections, partially indexed collections with additional browse images, browse only collections, and digitized microfilm in the catalog. Don't miss out on any hidden gems, learn how to find them all!
  • Jay Fonkert:
    • Probate Solves Problems: Finding a Man's Wives Through His Heirs: Discover what you can kind find in probate records, learn how to find and access probate files online and in courthouses, and see how the contents of probate files can help flesh out a family history or solve genealogical problems. Probate of John Fawkner's estate revealed four heirs that led to three previously unknown wives.
    • Finding Ancestors' Pre-Immigration Origins: a Three-step Strategy​: Find clues to your ancestor's origins, locate home-country hometowns on maps, and match families across North American and home-country records. Learn how to use the Geonet Name Server and other digital gazetteers to find obscure place names and target your search in parish records, civil records, and emigration records.​
  • Peggy Lauritzen:
    • ​Finding Substitutes for Vital Records: Some states began recording official vital records later than others.  Others have suffered record destruction through burned courthouses, war, rodents, and mildew.  What can be used as a substitute?
    • America's Turnpikes, Rivers, and Canals​: Roads and trails are the "go-to" places we look at first when determining how our ancestors moved throughout America.  However, there were other means of transportation available to them.  Could your ancestor have traveled other by-ways? 
  • Jill Morelli:
    • Dissecting Civil War Pension Packets: Union and Confederate​:Do you have a Civil War soldier in your family? You are lucky! What caused them to exist? We will explore how to obtain the records, identify the contents of a typical packet, and analyze the contents. An interesting case study of William H.H. Link of the 191st PA Infantry, and John Z. Cobble of the 53rd NC Regiment, will illustrate the concepts.
    • Whether the Weather: How the Weather Affected our Ancestors​: Whether urban dwellers or rural farmers, weather affected our ancestors. We will explore the impacts of multiple adverse weather events, mostly in the United States from the early 1700s to 1940. The history of weather forecasting will also be covered. Resources will outline where you can  find information about the weather in your locale.​
  • Lisa Oberg:
    • Calamity's Wake: Natural Disasters Our Ancestors Experienced​: Our ancestors experienced extreme weather conditions without Gore-Tex, sunscreen, cell phones and all the other modern conveniences we have. Understanding weather patterns was necessary for their very livelihood, and affected where they lived, what they grew and more. We'll take a closer look at how natural disasters shaped our ancestors lives.
    • Sisters Unite: Two Hundred Years of Women's Suffrage​: The nation will celebrate the centennial of women's suffrage in 2020. Winning the right to vote was just one of many events in history that affected our female ancestors. We will explore the lives our female ancestors in the United States by putting them in historical context and examining the historical events and influences of their lifetime.
  • Cari Taplin:
    • PERSIbilities: Better Research with the Periodical Source Index​: The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) is an underutilized resource for genealogists. It was developed by the Allen County Public Library to index all genealogical society publications. We will examine the search engine and through several examples, learn tips and techniques for getting the most out of this valuable research tool.
    • Deeds to Dirt: Case Studies in Analyzing Research With Maps: Our ancestors lived in a specific time and place. Putting them in context with their neighbors and communities can give us a greater understanding of their lives and may help solve some of our genealogical mysteries. Documents such as censuses, deeds, tax lists, directories, newspaper articles and more, can be analyzed using maps.
Friday, August 14th:  
  • Anna Swayne - Keynote Presentations
    • Your Slice of the DNA Pie: Have questions about your ethnic origins? Wonder how the DNA testing companies can continue to add more regions to the ethnicity results? Or perhaps you question why your German roots didn't showup in your DNA results? Joi n us to explore this slice of your ancestry as we compare ethnicity results across all of the major testing sites and breakdown just what all the maps and percentages mean.
    • Cracking the Case Using DNA: How do I use DNA to answer my genealogical questions? What steps do I take to piece it altogether? If you have taken a DNA test, chances are you have probably asked yourself these types of questions> Join us as we take real life research questions and use DNA to help get some answers.
    • DNA Health, The New Kid on the Block: Several DNA companies have introduced health this last year and 23andMe has always had it. What do you need to know about it and what does it mean for you?​
  • Amberly Beck
    • What Are the Records Really Telling Me?  Learning to Use Indirect Evidence: For many of our ancestors, there are no records about their lives that offer direct evidence of their details and relationships. Learn what indirect evidence is, how to search for it, analyze it, correlate it, and use it to prompt new research questions. Learn to harness the power of indirect evidence to solve your most stubborn brick walls.​
  • Daniel Earl
    • A Million Ways to Die: Death, Dying and Burial in Colonial Times: Our ancestors were familiar with death. This lecture looks at all the ways our colonial ancestors could have died, how they thought about death, and different burial customs of the various religious groups. So whether your ancestor died from disease, old age, or from being gored by a pig, this lecture is for you.​
  • Jay Fonkert
    • Using Geo-Genealogy to Solve a German Immigration Puzzle: Evidence for the home-country origins of 19th-century immigrants can be hard to find. This lecture illustrates how a broad geographical search can produce hints to the origins of a single, teenage girl who landed at New Orleans in 1845. Enjoy a cruise up and down the Mississippi to gather clues leading to Dena's German birthplace.
  • Laura Hedgecock
    • Storytelling and How NOT to Revise History: Learn practical ways to tell accurate yet compelling stories, avoiding biases (both intentional and unintentional) and misconceptions. Discussion will include how to: recognize bias and inaccuracies; use context to correctly emphasize the significance of events; present conflicted witness accounts; and disclose uncertainty.
  • Kathleen Kaldis 
    • Huzzah! Applying to the Daughters of the American Revolution: Today, there are so many ways to honor your ancestor to a specific community or historical event by joining a lineage society.  Huzzah! There’s a Lineage Society for That!  
      Each society has its own and specific application process and genealogical requirements to meet.  However, each one requires the applicant to document their relationship with the qualifying ancestor.   In most cases, the applicant must prove and document a direct lineal connection to the qualifying ancestor; some linage societies allow applicants to apply under an aunt or uncle.  Proving the lineage can be the trickiest part of the application process for most individuals.   
      This lecture will focus on Four Topics:  1) Popular Lineage Societies; 2) General Application Process and Procedures; 3) Useful Tools When Documenting Lineage; 4) Common Do’s & Don'ts When Applying to Lineage Societies. 
  • Peggy Lauritzen
    • Colonial Censuses in British America: British America was experiencing rapid growth during the years prior to the first Federal Census of 1790.  We will explore them, and see if our ancestors may have been mentioned. There were various types of census records before inclusion in the Constitution made it law, according to their respective Numbers.​
  • Judy Muhn
    • Canadian Research: Tools & Techniques: Many American families immigrated through Canada, so knowing how to research your people in Canada may be key to getting them back to a location overseas.  Learn the steps to using local, provincial, and national records as well as the wealth of information available from local societies.  Find your Maple Leaf connection!
    • Making Sense of the Census: 7 Steps to EVERYTHING You Need: The censuses of the United States, Canada and other countries are KEY to finding out about the lives of our ancestors.  Learn how seven steps can help you to pull as much information as possible from the various years of the census, putting it into order, and finding new data to help your search.  Many examples will be used.​
  • Dave Obee
    • Every Picture Tells a Story: Old photographs hold clues that could tell you more about your family history. Today, millions of photos are taken every second, but at one time photographs were a much bigger deal. More importance was placed on them, and more care was taken before the shutter was snapped. these samples might help you to unlock some of the answers in your own collection.
  • Mary Roddy 
    • Not Who He Once Was: Finding Your Name-Changing Ancestor: Do you have an ancestor who just disappeared? One who seems to have been deposited by aliens, with no background on earth? Perhaps his story involved a complete change of name. Using case studies of identity shifts, discover strategies to learn who the young man became in later life, or who Great-grandpa was “before you got to know him.
  • Michael Strauss
    • That Splendid Little War: Research in the Spanish-American War: The end of the nineteenth century witnessed the transformation of the United States from a developing nation into a global power. This lecture focuses on the war against Spain and concludes with the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) which U.S. soldiers participated by discussing records at the National Archives and other research facilities.
    • Banquet: Prisoners, Thieves, and Scoundrels: Our Black Sheep Ancestors:  Was there a horse thief in your family tree? Are there skeletons hiding in the closet? A lighthearted look at how some of our ancestors lived outside the confines of the law. Invaluable resources found in Federal, state, and local records can tell us stories about our ancestors that have remained hidden for generations.
  • Cari Taplin
    • Casting the Net: Denominational and Ethnic Newspaper Research: This presentation will examine the history of newspapers, primarily in the United States as well as newspapers' importance in communication between the Old and New Worlds. We will explore denominational, ethnic, and specialized newspapers as a research tool looking beyond obituaries.
Saturday, August 15th:  
  • Kathleen Kaldis - Keynote Presentations:
    • Land Ho! Calling All Mayflower Descendants: If you have early New England or Nova Scotia colonial roots, chances are high that you might descend from a passenger who was on the Mayflower. Now is a great time to discover your Mayflower roots! 2020 is fast approaching and the celebration has begun to honor the 400th anniversary when the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Kathleen Kaldis, a Genealogist with the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, will speak about the membership application requirements and process for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
    • From Pilgrims to Pioneers: - With almost 400 years of genealogical records New England offers a wealth of resources to the genealogical researcher.
    • Folklore, Tall Tales, and Genealogy: Finding the Stories in Your Family Tree.  Are you related to Paul Bunyan? Long before genealogists were writing register reportsabout their ancestors, people captured their family histories through stories. The more magnificent the story, the more the story was told and shared. Over time those stories became Tall Tales. Folklore and Genealogy go hand in hand with each other. A Cape Breton Tall Tale based on one of the speaker's ancestors will be shared with the audience.
  • Daniel Earl
    • DNA Daniel's Way: This lecture will look at the science behind DNA and discuss how testing companies get their ethnicity estimate, make cousin connections, and more. We will also discuss ethical dilemmas in DNA testing.
      If you've taken a DNA test, this class will look at how you can interpret the ethnicity estimates, cousin matches and use the tools that different testing companies offer to help researcher get the most out of their results.
    • Son of a Witch: Accused New England Witches and Their Descendants: The witch hysterias that gripped New England during the middle colonial period led to the deaths of many men and women. But this tragic tale doesn't end there. The children and grandchildren of the accused witches took great pains to clear the names of their ancestors. This lecture tells the story of the witches and their descendants.
  • Laura Hedgecock
    • Better Writing through Research: Learn how to increase the historical and emotional understanding of stories. Session covers types of context (from historical to emotional), where to find it, how to avoid overwhelming readers with too many facts, strategies to use when you have sparse information, and ethical issues in picking and choosing what we share about our ancestors.  
    • Helpful Technology Tools for Family History Writers: Learn about practical tools that can help with family history writing projects. We'll discuss how these free and low-cost software, smartphone apps, and websites can help with developing story ideas, organizing research and works in process;  facilitating the writing process;  improving your craft; and proofreading and editing.
  • Judy Muhn
    • The Top 5 Tribes: Researching the Largest Native Peoples: Native American research can be difficult if a researcher doesn't know what tribal group or nation they were part of.  This lecture will guide you in researching the largest of the tribal groups so that, by sheer numbers, you may finally find someone from your family.  Bring whatever you know about your family for the discussion, questions, help.
  • Dave Obee
    • The Wandering Ways of our East European Ancestors: Our Eastern European ancestors knew how to pack up and move. Many of them did it over and over again, before finally settling in a home that, more often than not, was close to the homes of friends and relatives from the old country. This session looks into some migration trends, such as chain migration, and examines the records that are available to us. It includes examples of several families who moved again and again, and the similar paths they took. Understanding similar paths in your family might give you a better sense of why they ended up where they did.
    • Eastern European Family History Online!: Without leaving your home, you can research your family's origins in Eastern Europe. Plenty of resources are found online, but they are not necessarily on the usual family history sites. This talk will provide ideas for pushing your research in new directions, and suggest tools that would make your work easier. It should be possible to sort out problems and questions regarding geography, history, and boundary changes. 
  • Mary Roddy
    • Far From the Famine: Finding Origins of Your Irish Ancestors: Discover strategies to find the Irish origin for your famine emigrant. Combine ancestral and FAN club clues to put great-great grandfather on the map. Strategies illustrated with several successful case studies.
  • Michael Strauss
    • Decoding Social Security: Providing Benefits to our Ancestors: The passage of the Social Security Act of 1935 provided stability to the United States.  By decoding the SSN's including the crossover with military serial numbers can provide many new clues. Ordering the Social Security applications, and understanding how delayed births play a key role can help locate new information about our ancestors.
    • Influenza: The Twentieth Century's Deadliest Pandemic: In 1918 with the war raging in Europe a silent deadly killer traveled with the soldiers from the United States to France. As quickly as the virus spread it disappeared by early 1919. Many genealogical and historical records document our ancestors or their families who died or survived this period of history.
Click here to register for the conference